What is the ACS (American Community Survey)?
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a 21-page questionnaire generated by the US Department of Commerce under the auspices of the US Census Bureau. Funded by tax dollars, the lengthy questionnaire is mailed to 2% of the US population annually. The survey has been criticized by many recipients due to its highly invasive questions, mandatory language regarding compliance threatening steep fines, and the dogged follow-up tactics often used by Census Bureau representatives to obtain completed forms.
The Census Bureau intends the ACS to replace the “long form” questionnaire of the 10-year Census. Information provided is entered into a central data base. This data bank holds extremely sensitive details about countless residents in every area of the United States.
ACS forms are addressed to the “resident” of specific addresses randomly chosen. It is up to the primary resident to fill out the form, supply his or her full name, and the full names of each household member. Other information that must be supplied for each person includes gender, marital status, age, birthdate, and the relationship of one resident to another. Questions also delve into the specific race of each individual, language spoken, education level, citizenship and ancestry. The physical, emotional and mental state of each resident is also to be supplied, including certain medical conditions.
The ACS also requires employment addresses, the time each resident leaves for work, and when he or she arrives home. If the resident doesn’t work, the survey asks if the person could have worked if offered a job, and other related questions. Self-employment, all income sources, and the total income earned over the previous year for each resident is also required.
The form also asks how many children each resident has given birth to, if any, or if any residents are currently pregnant. Military service and retirement questions are also covered in the ACS.
A series of inquiries are dedicated to the residence itself, including when it was built, how much land it occupies, how many rooms it has, number of bathrooms, type of plumbing, and market worth. The survey also asks the cost of monthly utility bills, mortgage or rent, and the dates each resident moved in.
The Census Bureau maintains that the answers to all ACS questions are held in the strictest confidence, and that the information will help city planning efforts. In terms of commerce, business owners can use the ACS database to see whether their services or products would benefit a particular geographic area. For example, a large store might decide to put an outlet in a particular neighborhood based on information provided by the database.
The Census Bureau emphasizes that all questions must be answered. The ACS envelope arrives with a warning that a response is required by law. The form threatens a $100 US Dollar (USD) fine for every question that goes unanswered, and a $500 USD fine for every question answered untruthfully.
While big business benefits from having as much information about citizens as possible, many citizens are unwilling to give away their right to privacy. Hence, many are refusing to return the ACS. This automatically results in an additional form being sent, followed by a series of phone calls. In 21% of the cases, an unannounced, personal visit from a Census Bureau representative follows in a final attempt to get the survey completed. Often, more than one visit takes place.
In the end, however, the Census Bureau has no authority to enforce the laws that require the ACS be answered. The Census Bureau can press formal charges for non-compliance, but this is somewhat impractical given the number of forms that are not returned, or that are returned incomplete. A lawsuit would likely draw media attention and a public outcry that would very probably bring an end to the survey or end mandatory compliance. As of early 2007, no legal action has been taken against anyone for refusing to answer the ACS.
They can't even get me to answer for jury duty. Do they really think I'm going to buy their crap and hollow threats? They don't even know my name so who then are they going to fine? This crap about fines is smoke and mirrors anyway. I see the final warning letter says that you can be fined up to $5,000 for non compliance. I looked into it, and $100 is it, $500 if you submit incorrect answers. So how do they know who to fine and how would they ever know if the answers are incorrect? It's all a sham and a bunch of scare tactics.
They ought to be held accountable for submitting false information like saying you can be fined up to 5 thousand dollars when it is really only $100. Last time I checked, this wasn't a communist country. They can take their survey and shove it deep!
I'm not sure I buy the bit about being chosen at random. We have received this thing five times since 2005, even though we moved around the country. Reading the posts, it seems like many have received it multiple times as well. If it's that rare and spread across so many people, why would you ever have chance of getting it even twice? We need some transparency into this agency.
I keep seeing posts that ask what the fuss and refusal is all about. It is about non-Census use of the Census mechanism to get data that would be illegal to collect in any other manner, or would have a very high non-compliance rate without the "authority" of the census.
The Census has the purpose of determining the population of each state to determine how many Representatives each state should have in Congress. Before the personal income tax and the IRS was created, the census was also used to determine the percentage of total federal tax liability that each state was responsible for, based on population. Racial data was collected from the beginning, because each slave was counted as a fraction of a person, and the state's population was calculated based on that fact.
Almost from the beginning, additional information was collected, because this convenient mechanism was in place. That process was illegal from the start. However, it usually was not a lot of information, and little concern was shown.
The ACS is another prime example of government running amok. The plan is to replace the decennial census with the ACS. Every single month, 250,000 households will be surveyed - forever. That's 3 million people per year, every year for the foreseeable future. The odds are that any one household will be selected once every five years - twice as often as old decennial census.
Of even greater concern are the amount and types of questions asked, and how they are determined. If you understand the process it will scare the pants off of you. The Census Bureau collects data based on requests from other federal agencies. In these cases, the promise of confidentiality of personally identifying data is probably true (if you overlook computers left in bars, hacking, etc.).
I am really frightened about an apparent "partnership" mechanism that can also be used. If the CB "partners" with another federal agency, both the CB and the other agency - let's say Homeland Security - have ownership of the data and access to all of it. You could find on the 2016 or 2017 ACS survey questions about the books you read, the movies you watch, the clubs and organizations you belong to, and the make, model and serial number of every firearm you own. Congress has specifically prohibited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms from collecting this data directly, but through misuse of the Census, we could have a national firearms registry.
The thing to do right now is to refuse to submit any information to then Census Bureau that is not directly related to determining US population, with some very minimal age, sex and ethnic data. That could derail the freight train and prevent the erosion of privacy and liberty that the continued expansion of ACS could cause.
I am another recipient of the ACS long form. I filled it out on their website, but left at least 90% of the questions blank. I gave them my name, age (but not birth date), race, and the fact I "did not work or was retired". Exactly the same info was given for my wife. This is the data the Census has traditionally asked. I have seen early 1800's census forms, in which 25 or more families were recorded on one legal size sheet of paper, one line per family. You had the name of the head of household, then columns for number of male and females in age ranges. Head of household occupation was included and race of household.
By 1850, you could still get two large families on one sheet of paper. The change became one line per person, not family. Each family member was named, then age, race, etc. Occupation was also asked for each. Typical was farmer, housewife, student, at home.
This is the stuff that is legitimate. The ACS is a thinly disguised mechanism to pile on questions that bypass legal restrictions if they were asked by any other federal agency. For all who wonder what the fuss, and refusal, is all about - this is it.
I have firmly decided that Satan will have an active and thriving Hockey League long before I answer any more detailed questions, and that I will not live in any fear of empty threats, such as those from anon316794.
Me too! I am yet another targeted conservative. I have had enough. I wish we could arrest these people for attempting to gather private info on us! I have been sent the questionnaire, warnings, and now phone calls with my "case ID". People, do not answer these questions. Up above is good info on speaking with a government official and being arrested.
If they attempt to hold you up in any way, it might be considered an arrest on their part and that is not legal! They have no arresting authority. So if they show up and try to talk to you ask if they are attempting to detain or arrest you in any way by holding you up. If they say no, then close the door!
What's the point of job-training programs if no businesses exist to hire you with your newly upgraded skills? My area has a high rate of unemployment and I don't see any businesses coming here to help.
Keeping us down and out and unemployed so we stay on welfare is a crappy way to think it's all warm and fuzzy.
Keep the jobs in America so we all can get back to work. Why not quit taking lobby money and payoffs and require American companies to stay in America so we all can work?
If only 2 percent of the population takes this survey, how can such a small percentage be used to represent the whole population?
Plumbing questions? Please, we're not a third world country and houses built have full plumbing.
I doubt that your congressman is against this survey and I wonder how many of them have been "selected" to participate in this survey?
I received this "survey" (intrusive interrogation gestapo style) today and after raging about the personal nature of these intrusive questions, I have decided not to answer it at all.
Thanks to all who posted helpful info in refusing this unconstitutional foray into our lives.
I just began receiving my ACS harassment. This is my second go around with this. Several years ago, I came home to find a business card in my door. After naively calling to find out what it was about, I was informed that I had to answer these questions. I told her I decided not to do so. I got the standard spiel about how these answers determined who got what in the way of government benefits.
What does my income, when I leave and return from work, how many toilets in my house, etc, have to do with this? I asked if she worked for the IRS, she said no. I informed her that the only government agency that had a right to my income information was the IRS. As for whether I worked or not, she could go to the unemployment offices for the neighborhood stats. I hung up, but she continued to call me once a month or so for the next two years, and in between calls, a guy came to my door. Once he even put his hand on the door to keep me from closing it, at which point I told him that if he wanted to keep his hand, he needed to take it off the door and leave my property.
Now, it's time for round two of the same. These are not random surveys. The last time, the survey take told me only 30,000 were sent out nationwide. Funny that nine went to people in my block. Can you say, targeting registered Conservatives, anyone?
I am not paranoid, people. This is happening. Look what the administration is doing to the Tea Party? Why should we think we are immune?
Has anyone been audited because they refused to answer?
In doing research on privacy rights, I came across
some very appropriate and interesting information.
It is called The Public Service Questionnaire. This concerns the Privacy Act of 1974 93-579, which protects the rights of a citizen.
There is a questionnaire that a government agent needs to fill out before interviewing a citizen and you may insist on full disclosure as a precondition to speaking with any government official.
According to the details, you are not obligated to speak with a government official unless arrested. Please check this out! Being informed of our rights and sticking up for them is precious.
I am an eighteen-year-old girl, in my second semester at college. I went to my school's campus center today and checked my mailbox for the first time in several weeks, only to find a big, raggedy envelope marked only "United States Census Bureau: your response is required by law."
Immediately, I was suspicious and sort of frightened. The envelope was clearly sealed at some point, but it had been ripped open. Scrawled in pencil on the front of the survey (where it says "place label here") were my name, dorm and room number, and mailbox number (when the papers were all in the envelope, this was visible through the little window, which no longer had any plastic). On the envelope in the same script is this message: "Please call me if you have questions or prefer to do a personal or telephone interview. Otherwise, return your completed questionnaire to the Office of Residential Living by 4/26/2013." Followed by a woman's name, "US Census Bureau," and what she says is her home office number, which has the same area code as my school.
I've never worked. This is the first time I've ever lived alone. I don't want to answer these questions. While it seems like some of the really invasive ones mentioned on this page have been removed, they are still very personal and I am not inclined to trust other people with my information (registering to vote made me incredibly paranoid, and I don't even like to put anything on Facebook).
They're using my school address and this field representative is clearly based in the town where I attend college. The semester's almost over, so I'm hoping they'll lose track of me or no longer be interested once I move back home, which is not even in the same state.
I'm barely an adult. Honestly, I don't even think I am an adult, except in name. I'm an eighteen-year-old first-year with social problems, anxiety and paranoia. My mom still takes me to doctor's appointments and accompanies me into the examination rooms. I'm a confused, overwhelmed college student and this strange, sketchy, bullying envelope appearing in my mailbox is not helping.
The worst part is, if they ever do start showing up at my door and I don't successfully avoid them, I know my social problems will prevent me from being firm and sending them away for good. I'm antsy and very angry and I don't know what to do.
I did get the survey and chose not to interact and avoid participating. I was contacted many times but did not answer the door or phone or respond to threatening letters (they misspelled my name and street - government employees). They even called a neighbor who was smart and did not reveal anything.
This went on for about three or four months. It has now been three months and all is quiet so I would assume they moved onto some other poor soul. This can be handled differently, but it is not and therefore continues to be another waste of taxpayer monies.
First off, this isn't a census, it's a survey. There is a difference. Secondly, my issue is with the survey's bully tactics to make reluctant folks comply and divulge personal information that make them uncomfortable. Identity theft is the highest crime in the land these days. Also, if anyone actually believes our government is transparent and incorruptible then they deserve to live under the bootheel of a dictatorship.
They can't guarantee nondisclosure of your personal information. Besides your info will pass someone's desk. Hitler's twisted utopia began like this, subtle and deceptive, and while some may laugh at the connection, millions of Jews aren't laughing. Americans must draw the line in the sand at some point. Right here is as good as any. As for how and where to distribute community funds? Seems like the country has figured it out over the centuries prior to this latest interrogation so why so dependent on it now of sudden? Furthermore, how is forcing info out of people without representation actually making us more American? This survey is an oxymoron to civil liberty.
Theodosius I once instituted Nicene Christianity as Rome's state religion around the 4th century AD. In essence, pagans or others had to practice this brand of Christian faith lest they broke Caesar's law and suffered for it. How much longer before our government wants to know our religion or faith and how often we practice it, or whether or not we've complained about the current administration in any public forum, etc. If Americans, i.e. true Americans, don't refuse now, how far will they push the envelope next time. Then again, maybe I'm just overreacting.
For those who think the questions on the Census do not invade your privacy, you need to read your history books.
People have been persecuted for ages by governments that have gone bad. Our nation has no reason to collect 90 percent of the questions in this survey. The government already knows where all money is spent and for what (see IRS). The last thing we need is detailed information out on the internet for every terrorist or crazy to try every minute of every day to get their hands on.
(Confidential? It is only a matter of time when this data will leak out)
It was very upsetting to see the return address, U.S. Dept of Commerce. We literally shuddered, because this was deja vu. My husband and I have been down this road before! This is our second time to get the ACS survey. The first time was two years ago, and like some others we thought it was a scam. We called around and no one had heard of it. It was real and the survey questions were a nightmare. We could hardly believe the outright intrusion of our privacy.
I immediately started researching everything I could find on the internet about the ACS. The more I read, the more scared I became. All the garbage about it just being a random survey is quite a lie. You personally are selected. If you fill it out and send it back, without your name, they would still know who it was sent to. Look at the codes (looks sort of like UPC coding) on the letter and form itself. They want to track you for years. I am convinced that once they start tracking you, they want to continue surveying you. This adds layers of personal information that they have on you.
When we didn't mail back the form, we started to get a lot of calls, from all over the U.S. When I would look up the numbers, we found which census office they were calling from. They came to the door numerous times.
I began to get very angry and when I would tell other people about the harassment. I could sense they were thinking, "this person is paranoid." And yes, I was paranoid, for a good reason. I called the local police and they told me "they can't harass you." And then, on the local news, we were told we must take the survey or be fined.
Then we started getting Fedex packages. We never opened them and let them pile up at the door. Before long, we saw a field worker pick up the packages and move them to the garage door. My husband moved them back to the place they were delivered to at the front door and put a sign on them that said, "It is a federal offense to bother our mail,."
We saw them walking around the back of our cars, writing down our license numbers we presumed. Two of our neighbors said they were approached by the ACS workers to ask personal questions about us. I don't remember them all, but I can tell you they were invasive. One neighbor was in her car trying to drive out of her driveway when they stopped her and insisted she answer some questions. The other neighbor began to sense that he didn't want to give them all the info they wanted and said that he didn't know us very well and that he couldn't tell them any more.
I can't really tell you now how long all this went on. It was long, and hard on the nerves. We basically tried to avoid talking to them. This was some good advice that we found in our research. They do have recorders on themselves and record every word you say. Be careful what you say. They document everything, every word.
If I had any advice to give I would say, avoid what you can first, and then repeat whatever it is you want to say over and over.
However, if you say "I refuse", they jump on that and say, "so, you say you are refusing, I will have to mark you down as refusing." Did I say it was long? We dealt with two different people; I guess the first one quit trying to get info. The phone calls were incessant.
So, to see the letter show up in our recent mails just about made us sick. I wouldn't doubt if they now audit our taxes, or anything else to just show us who is boss. Oh, and by the way, we moved some distance to this location, and there is no way I believe this second survey is a coincidence, no way. This is all very upsetting. They are going to make someone commit suicide. This should not be happening in America. Stay strong!
I've had phone calls and letters. During the last call (and no, she was not very nice about it at all), I was told I would be put on "The Department of Justice's list of refusers". What the hell does the Department of Justice have to do with a Census survey? Has anyone else heard that one? Whatever.
I suppose if the Department of Justice needs to bully it's own. Well, it gives one pause as to just how far they will go beyond this survey? What other scare tactics do they use to get us to comply? And isn't that the opposite of justice? What a world.
I received the survey and filled it out because it was threatening. To the people who were arguing for it that work for this stupid bureau, I hate your survey because you do it through force and threats. I don't care if it is "confidential." You have no right to ask me these questions! What you are doing and the way you are doing it makes me strongly despise this and it really gives you a feeling of living in Soviet Russia when filling it out. Way out of bounds, and way creepy.
I seriously can't believe how ignorant some people are!
The Census does work all the time for different studies that help government plan allocation of funds for programs like food stamps, meals on wheels, churches, water usage, road repairs.
If Walmart wants a study done through the Census Bureau, they pay for it and that money helps to pay for the other costs incurred on necessary studies.
All info is strictly confidential. The name part is used on a local level to address you, and to prevent duplicates and that's it. I suggest you learn about random sampling 101.
The people suggesting they worked at the Census may have worked there for two weeks in a temp job which they were promptly fired from for harassing people. We do not harass people. We call the federal marshal to make you comply or arrest you. Everyone knows that. You might consider it harassment because we visit many, many times to get you to comply so we don't have to report you for not complying - that we do as a kindness.
We are paid pretty well to be a study worker -- $12 -$25 an hour depending on the study. I love my job. I am not about to get fired. Keeping my job means being nice to you and getting you to comply.
The surveys are for you and your community. If you can't fill it out don't gripe about the government not helping people. And yes, we do pay people at times to do the studies.
Not answering your phone only means we will come back to your house or your neighbor's house. Do you think your neighbor wants to be bothered because you can't do your part?
We aren't immigration and only ask about citizenship because it helps us to determine what programs are available in areas.
We are normal folks doing our jobs. Be nice!
I am a professional field interviewer. I work on these studies. I assure you your information is confidential. If I did leak any information, I would go to prison and have to pay a $250,000 fine plus I bet I'd lose my job which I happen to like a lot.
You can refuse to answer but I can also call a federal marshal to make you comply. I love doing that to punks who simply think they cannot answer my questions. When you refuse to cooperate, it only costs tax payers more money. I don't particularly like contacting someone 20 times to get them to comply so you are being kind if you just flat out say you refuse so I can take the next step immediately, but whatever... I am hourly and will do whatever is necessary to make you comply.
I can go to your neighbor's house, call your HOA, call your landlord, call the federal marshals. I won't call the police because that is a breach of confidentiality but you get the point. By the way, did you know that most of the studies pay you to participate?
I sometimes pay a family $300 in cash to answer questions. Perhaps you should try being nice to the field interviewer. Good luck hiding from us!
I get the reason for the survey but it is the way they are going about it. It is not secure (mailing your SS number? Giving your information to a government worker with a laptop? It is harassing and threatening. Therefore, I will not participate in it which shows that I do not support it at this time. Tax dollars should be used efficiently these days.
It is September 2012 and I have received two envelopes via regular mail addressed "Current Resident". They are from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce/U.S. Census Bureau. They are expecting me to "welcome an identified agent" into my home (I live in an apartment) and complete an interview about what I spend my money on and then to take a journal and record everything I purchase for I don't know how long.
They claim my responses affect the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and that this survey is "authorized" by Titles 13 and 29 of the United States Code, and Sections. 9 and 214 of Title 13 require they keep the information collected "strictly confidential", (yeah right).
I will decline to answer their questions, citing my rights protected under the Bill of Rights which are part of the U.S. Constitution. I am not a fan of divulging information to any person or agency that cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the information being collected will in no way, shape or form be used for any other purpose except those stated.
I am a law abiding citizen who goes to work and pays taxes. I will write my state's representatives about this issue.
I just met a census guy at my door. He told me that I had been mailed the form and I said that I had received it but threw it away. I told him that I'd already responded to the census two years ago and he said that this was a different survey. I then said "the census is all I do and you can leave now." He handed me a form letter and left. I'm waiting for the next assault.
I too was hassled by these people for a few weeks. Got the the point of the overnight fed ex package with the veiled threats. I got the card of the lady who was initially hounding me and tracked her down on facebook. She is a bleeding heart liberal, of course! She had the nerve to wear a NRA baseball cap to my house. Nice prop!
After they visited my house a few times, I told her boss to write this down. I gave her the name and number of my lawyer and told her to call hem to discuss any further. Have not heard anything since.
We can't tell them what hour and how far my hubby leaves for work each day because he lives away from home for his job and each day is different. Frankly, we participated in the Constitutional census and I will not send this one in.
I am a former census worker, and believe me people, it's all a smoke and mirrors scam. We would threaten people just to get them to comply, knowing our threats were meaningless. When I would call people who refused to respond, I would treat them horribly, curse at them, but would then tell them if they wanted to file a complaint about me, to call a specific number. That number would be my cube mate (literally sitting across from me. They would almost always call, and the fake "Complaint Receiver" would ask them the minimum necessary questions we needed to their survey filled out. That was just one of scores of tactics we used.
The truth is no one has to answer, because the Census can not enforce anything, nor wants to draw attention to the courts or media. So relax, just ignore it, and if they call or visit, tell them you decline. If you're firm and not wishy-washy, we could sense that and would just give up. If you get all emotional, we'd keep coming at you.
This is amazing. Ignorance on parade, and proud of it.
To the census people who are assuring people that this data is "confidential," how do you know what happens to this data after it gets punched into a computer?
Please see the post from anon193481
Post 145. The post really hits the nail on the head and explains the bigger picture.
I can sympathize with concerns over intrusiveness and confidentiality, but these *are* things the Census takes very seriously. As anon points out, there are ways (respectful and cost-effective) to either participate or refuse the interview. I am really surprised by some of the hostile and ignorant remarks on here. You take your blood pressure meds with that mouth?
The ACS is vital and without good data, you might as well wave a wand around and let your tax dollars fall as they may. Government at the federal, state, and local levels cannot operate in the dark.
FR, you have a *tough* job and a difficult balancing act to perform. Hat tip to you.
The census reps work every day. They are data collectors for many government agencies.
The 2010 census counted the people who live in the U.S., but many more surveys are done each day.
The census people collect information about: housing, crime, spending, employment, health care, schooling, wildlife, hunting and fishing and so on..
These people have a thankless job, are paid pennies, yet they continue to do what they do for you -- the people living in the USA.
Walmart should pay for their own market research. Why should taxpayers fund it through the CB?
If it didn't come as registered mail, I didn't receive it, and let them try and prove I did.
I just called the phone number on the form and told them I refuse to answer the questionnaire. They asked for the bar code number. They said they wouldn't bother me again. Time will tell.
These surveys come to an address marked "Resident." That implies that whomever sent it does not "know" who lives at the address. After a couple mailings, then the phone calls start. Where are these people getting these phone numbers? They do not even know who is living at the address. Think about it, folks. Don't let these people intimidate you. I do not want anymore WalMarts in my neighborhood, anyway.
Please send an email or letter to your Congressman (and perhaps Senator) to vote for a currently active bill to make answering the invasive questions optional. It's H.R. 931 and proposes making participation in the American Community Survey voluntary, except with respect to certain basic questions. Always include your name. Maybe it will help stop this.
After consulting with a couple of wise friends, and losing a night's sleep over this, I finally just filled the form out and sent it in. I don't feel good about it and wish I hadn't.
I wish I had read this forum first. I'm not usually a "do gooder," but considering that I wish someone had taken the initiative to prevent our government from doing this and putting us at risk before I myself became a target, I recommend we contact our congressmen and senators about this horrific invasion of privacy, and follow up with them on a monthly basis with the same tenacity the hired survey stalkers have.
It may be too late for some of us since they already have our private information, but it will be rewarding to see this abusive survey taken away from them and to know we did something good for many others, although they may never know it, and accomplish at least one thing for the overall benefit of our country.
Also, maybe we can make them delete all personal identifiable information from their database? I'm going to draft my first letter to my representatives right now. Please do the same. And if you can stay the course, don't forget to follow up with your congressmen and senators every month for a status. Best.
Well, I have been harassed by the local census people about this foolish form. Today when my mother got home, luckily I happened to be right behind her on my motorcycle because this woman was sitting in our yard. I was very angry. I told her if you are on my property at night during this time of year I perceive it as a threat and I will react accordingly.
Needless to say, she kept trying to get me to fill it out, claiming it was law. And I scoffed. I told her there is no way in the world the US government would come after me for not filling out such an intrusive questionnaire. I hadn't even looked at it, so I came in and glanced over it. I dislike the personal questions, but I dislike being asked if I am hispanic before being asked my ethnicity even more. I dislike being asked if I speak other languages other than English in my household, and to top it all off, this is information the government has readily available, so truly what is the purpose of it?
And if they are upset with your response, it shows they already know the answer, so they can fill it out themselves. You want to do a meaningful survey? Survey dumb poor people who have too many children. Ask them if they took their financial plight into consideration before procreating. It would make these forms obsolete.
I'm confused about the hostility and controversy surrounding this questionnaire. I'm not concerned right now with the constitutionality, just with the practical consequences for me.
What harm might come specifically to me if I fully complete this American Community Survey? Even if the government retained the information specifically about me, how could it be harmful?
Also, suppose that all my information from that form was leaked and posted on publicly viewable web pages. How could I be harmed, exactly?
Thanks in advance for any insights you have for me. I'm debating whether to stall or to just complete the survey.
I too have been "chosen" to answer these intrusive questions. Two questionnaires received in the mail, numerous phone calls, and now someone showed up at my house over the weekend. Luckily, we weren't home.
Has anyone ever thought about filing a class action lawsuit? If that's even possible?
This is becoming harassment over questions that the government already has most of the answers to (i.e. income, marital status, employment, welfare, race, age, etc).
We filled out the form and sent it back. Today they called saying the form was incomplete. They wanted to know could we feed ourselves, could we wash ourselves, could we walk up steps etc. What a bunch of crap. The questions got worse as it went along.
Finally, just before hanging up on them, I asked them if they would like to the time of each person's morning bowel movement. Thank God for caller ID. I won't be answering if they call back.
It seems that most of the comments here are posted by uninformed people. Imagine a government making decisions without any information about the characteristics of the population. That's what you would have if everyone behaved as you do. People like this have complained about surveys and censuses for years, but never bothered to find out whether they are congressionally authorized. They are.
I have received two surveys so far and to be honest I'm getting a little nervous about what comes next. I have notified a consumer advocate about the survey(sent him my first one). I am hoping nothing more comes of this but not really expecting it to stop based on the other blogs. I think a baseball bat and loaded gun at the door would work, too.
I'm thinking of posting a no trespassing sign at the bottom of the driveway, and have my phone handy with 911 pre programmed. I'm active on the police commission in my town so think the response will be quick.
I refuse to answer all the questions except how many people live in my house.
We have refused for a while now. They come knocking. They know it takes the sheriff a while to come out to us. No trespassing signs don't do much. My spouse always takes the time to explain in no uncertain terms that we will not answer the questions. This census worker had a lot of information on us, even where we work, except it wasn't quite right. Sorry, the neighbors don't know it all. Just plowed through the questions to see if my spouse would provide an answer. It turned racist when the census worker plainly made assumptions on looks. Sorry, wrong again. Not that I would tell you.
Do they get paid by how often they show up and how many questions they get filled in no matter what the resource of information (neighbors, internet, phone book)? The census line of work must pay well. I see them drive expensive vehicles. Our tax payer money at work.
I was just trying to find info on this to see if it was legit. I never got a form in the mail. A few weeks back, I got a Fedex package from the census to my apartment, but it had my neighbor's name, so I left it at their door assuming it was for them. I never got any calls.
After 7 p.m. on Saturday, a man buzzed my door saying he was from the census. I live in an apartment without a doorman/no video screen so I asked him to identify who he was there to see. He said he would not--as if I'm just going to allow some random man into my home without even knowing who it is. I plan to just ignore them if they return since I can't see how they could fine me if they don't even know my name.
To 155 and others, all you have to do is post a No Trespassing sign on your property and if they still come to you door and harass you, call the police and have them removed or even arrested.
We got the survey and filled it out. Apparently they are not happy with the answers. Got a visit from an agent after 8 p.m. When I opened the door I asked her what time it was. She said it's 7:30 pm and demanded to be let in. I told her it was after 8 and she is not allowed to come knocking after 8. She insisted it was 7:30 p.m. Sorry, I don't deal with liars. I shut the door. She knocked, rang the bell, turned the door handle, and managed to scare my kids. Then she wedged an envelope with her contact info through the door.
How do they get away with that?
I can't believe the questions they ask. I think this has been a big public relations/marketing failure. I also thought it was junk mail when I first got it. I mean, who has heard of "The American Survey"? It could have been Scientologists or something, right? The survey looked cheesy and suspicious. C'mon Dept of Commerce, make the next one look more official and maybe advertise ahead of time if you'll be sending these out. I did send it, but not after a lot of research making sure it was legit. Jeesh!
@ no.145: Your math is reversed. Each person represents 5,000. You make some valid points, but that doesn't detract from the argument that some of these questions are alarmingly invasive. Reading the questions on mental illness and the specificity of my residence soured me to the rest of the survey to the extent that many sections were left incomplete.
I received a call today asking me to complete the rest and I said that I wasn't comfortable answering questions that were personal in nature. She thanked me and hung up. Don't needlessly waste (and it is waste) our tax dollars by making them send you additional materials and track you down to your address.
I have the unfortunate luck of living in a house targeted for the "American Housing Survey". While the form is shorter, it still asks for detailed information and is every two years! We have been lied to repeatedly by Bureau employees about everything from the time it would take to one who came to my house and claimed to be "just driving by." I live on a dead end street and she is not one of my neighbors!
We finally got tired of answering these and refused to answer last time. Eventually, after a few phone calls they gave up. Now they are showing up at our door. And they sent via FedEx(!) a condescending letter about our "question about the survey" and how they would explain the importance. I do not have a question. I understand why they want the data. I just refuse to give it. They even admitted it was voluntary.
We cannot get off this list ever and will be harassed like this every two years for as long as we live in the house.
I sent back the letter with the parts I felt were legally permissible with a note stating I felt the rest was intrusive and an invasion of my privacy. I received a phone message today but did not return it.
To put the icing on this pile of refuse, the census bureau is open into the evening hours with extended hours on Saturday and Sunday! What a fine use of our taxpayer money. And they are talking about no money to pay our social security that we've put our money into all our working lives! Let's keep the illegals and send our politicians packing. At least most illegals want to work.
I have received two ACS forms, a postcard, and several phone calls. I have not responded to any of them and, thanks to caller ID, not answered their calls. I live in a New York City doorman apartment building. Therefore, I didn't think they would be able to get past the doorman.
However, I learned today that the Census Bureau has the right to enter the building and knock on individual apartment doors. This is like the Gestapo. How can the government threaten and harass its citizens in a so-called free country?
As for the idiots who think we should respond to this invasive survey, let them respond. It should be a voluntary survey. Those who want to answer the invasive questions can do so. However, I do not. Let me live in peace!
I'm with 199149; the other 1 percent must be CB goons. Yes, they can call you via cell phone. One more week to go and we're done.
The keep calling us, too. They have called at least 50 times. The main question I have is: Why does the department of commerce "business" want to know about private information about my house, children etc.? This has nothing to do with commerce or business. I am ready to fight our useless, bankrupt, money wasting, war mongering, corrupt government. We need to fire every politician and start this government from scratch.
The ACS collects data used by local, county, state and federal government to spend money on schools, road maintenance (what time everyone leaves for work will determine how many people on the road at the same/different times) and community services. Any question you don't want to answer can be refused or "don't know". You do not need to give your real names. You can be Female Doe, Male Doe, Female Child1, Female Child2, etc.
You will get calls if your number is listed and if you verify your address, then they will continue to call for the next four weeks. If you don't answer the survey, they will assign it to a Field Rep who will show up at your house during the day the first time and then evenings/weekends thereafter trying to catch you at home.
The FR is doing a job and his/her performance is rated based on you the respondent. I'm an FR and I will not accept refusals and get a poor rating. Rather I will bed over backward to assist a respondent in answering only what they're comfortable with and protecting them for what they don't want to answer.
It's an imperfect system but honestly, if you think big picture, then it's better than nothing. Each respondent selected represents approximately 60,000 so if the respondent doesn't respond and each of the 4,000 FR's have one or two refusals each month, well that's hundreds of thousands of people who aren't represented. Then those are the people who gripe about the government! Providing accurate data is one of the best ways to send a message, whatever your message may be, to our congressmen.
I received an ACS form about a month ago. I don't understand the reasoning of the ACS. The Census Bureau says that 10 years is just too long to wait for new info. But the Census was taken just last year, so why do they need all this new info so soon? It's fishy to me.
Hello anon41529: No one in the government will voluntarily get this type of information from me. Check with the Japanese Americans and see how the 1940 census turned out for them, or the people of Georgia after the 1860 Census. Sherman loved that one!
I received my ACS in the mail on Thursday, I received a postcard in my mailbox Saturday, and by the way this is a holiday weekend, so now I am waiting to see what their next move is.
Also, when I received my survey, they had enclosed a flyer for "Frequently Asked Questions", and it stated that based on the information that I provide I may be asked to participate in other Census Bureau Surveys that are voluntary. The catch word here is "voluntary". This is not voluntary, this is invasive, threatening, and out and out harassment. Hey you jerks: shoot if you must this old grey head but I will save my country's flag instead. God bless America!
OK, I have just been threatened with a visit from a federal marshal and been told that these cases of non-response are being prosecuted in northern Indiana. Anyone had a visit from a federal marshal and a threat of prosecution?
The questions are those of a stalker! I started filling it out, started freaking at the very personal questions, then really freaked when they wanted to know the time I leave for work! Stalker!
Folks, just stand firm and be polite and they will stop calling. I refused to fill out the survey. When they called I told them I refused to fill it out. They asked why and I told them it was for personal reasons that they didn't need to know. After a few calls they stopped calling. No one has shown up at my door. What a crock is right. Our government is a mess.
Well today I received my first call from these people.
I told him that I already sent it back and he told me that if they didn't get it in the next five to seven days, they would be calling again.
There isn't any time limit on the forms and from what I've read, some of the forms have already been discontinued. I am sending a letter to my state representatives and the president.
The new bill to oppose this survey is H.R. Bill 931. Check it out.
According to their law, unless they can prove you have received the survey, such as registered mail. You have not officially declined to comply with the survey. Which means you have broken no law. The fines they mention can only be applied after a conviction. So if you don't sign anything, they can't prove anything. If you read the law carefully, there are other problems that keep the government from ever doing more pestering you. My advice is get informed, know the law, spread the word. We're not all socialists yet!
Yes, it is none of their business. I am going to tell them I am dirt poor, no car no pot to pee in or window to throw it out of. The government has already screwed us over severely in the financial department as of 2008, and I guess they want to know how much more they can steal from us before the majority of our people are homeless, and just cut short of that stop loss.
Isn't it interesting how we live in a fascist run country who are still owned by the heads of Great Britain, but we call ourselves free and talk about liberty and democracy? What a crock!
I, too, am being bombarded by repeated phone calls.
A person came to my home last year handing me a Census Form which I filled out. Now I have received as many as 10+ phone calls all from the area code 812. This morning the woman hung up on me when I told her repeatedly to send me another form because I never received the form she kept referring to. She told me it was due in two days (a Sunday?) and I would be fined.
What in the world is going on? I will never, ever give out personal information over the telephone. Ever!
I was wondering if anyone has had this situation? We got the survey in mid-January, and of course didn't fill it out. The phone calls started in early March and were nonstop for about three weeks. Well over 30 calls, but we just ignored them.
Then they stopped -- haven't gotten one in about three weeks -- and we thought we were done. Then on Thursday we got our first visit. We weren't home. They stopped by again Sunday, although we didn't answer the door. Still no more calls. Is that strange? Seems most are dealing with the calls and visits at the same time. We really thought we were done. How long do we have to deal with the home visits?
I have just taken the survey over the phone, having had numerous telephone calls and one visit to the door. I answered most of the questions, the financials with "ballpark" figures. I refused to answer any medical or health questions citing the HIPAA protection against having one's medical info spread all over the planet. I'm ready to take these questions to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Have there been any Census v. HIPAA regs. lawsuits out there? By the way, the person blaming Obama for this is ridiculous. That's like blaming him for income tax. Silly Tea Party rhetoric.
We're blocking their calls, told them when they had the nerve to come to our door that they had to leave "now". They did. I believe that they are contractors hired by the census bureau. Do they work off a piece rate of getting the Americans to surrender? BTW the race questions are just 'pigments' of the imagination. They don't even define their terms on what makes up 'race'. How would i begin to really know my ancestry? Don't we all come from a common ancestor in Africa? So are we all African? Stop the madness, and remember whatever the Nazis did was legal at the time in Germany.
Obama has been President for over two years and has done nothing to eliminate this survey. He is to blame. Our government is too big and too intrusive. Obama, please get rid of this survey and start working on real issues like creating jobs, smaller government, reducing our debt and taxes.
I have to agree that the information these people are seeking is none of anyone's business. I have discarded the mailings for the past 3 weeks and just tonight I get a phone call (unknown caller). The lady could barely speak english. I advised her I was very busy and the fact that she interrupted my quality time. She began to tell me "It's the law."
I kindly told her that I was not interested in her conversation and hung up the phone. Is this real? Should I expect a knock at the door?
People - do you know that members of Congress can use inside information to trade the markets? The SEC jails and fines insider traders, as they should. But it is pure hypocrisy to allow members of Congress to do the same and to profit from it. Look it up.
For all those blaming Obama for this survery, please know that this program was started in 2005 under president Bush. This is not a new program, but has been running for the last six years; you have just now been randomly selected.
I completely disagree with the survey. The stuff they ask is none of their business. Why the heck does the government need to know what time I go to work and what time I get home? Complete crap!
"It is all confidential." They love to tell you that. What a load of dung. that is not true -- not since the patriot act has been in place.
Also, how about that laptop with all the social security numbers and information of military personnel that the government worker took home with him? Yeah, right. Confidential.
I received the ACS and after reading it, I didn't want to fill it out. I called the Census Bureau and after explaining to me that this survey was "anonymous" and "very important" I still wasn't going to fill it out. She finally told me that I was required to, but if I didn't want to answer some questions it is better to write "I decline to answer" rather than leave it blank. There you go, straight from the CB it is better to write "I decline to answer" rather than leave it blank.
Just do some research on Japanese-Americans who answered the census survey and you will see what can happen to all of your "private" information.
I read that the Census Bureau has lost hundreds of laptops with personal respondent data on them since 2003.
Personal respondent data accidentally ended up on the CB website in 2007.
In 1983 the IRS tried to use computer matching of census data and private mailing lists to locate people who don't file income taxes.
The CB lied for years saying they did not provide the Secret Service with the names and addresses of the Japanese-Americans who filled out the census form and were rounded up and imprisoned in World War II. In 2007 it was proven that they did, in fact, provide their names/addresses to the S.S.
They cannot provide any type of guarantee that the info. they collect will not be leaked, hacked or used against us because in the case of a war or other major crisis-all bet's are off! The government will do what they want. Laws can be changed.
The more information they gain, the more control they will have over us. It's that simple!
Refuse to fill out this ridiculously invasive survey. If for no other reason, do you really want to put all of your most private information in the mailbox? Mail theft IS the top source of identity theft. And you're telling the thief what time you leave for work, you may as well leave your house key in the envelope along with the survey!
We have received the second form after throwing away the first. We refuse to answer these extremely personal questions. If they call, we won't answer, and if they come to the door, we won't answer. If they happen to corner us outside our home, I will will take out my iphone and start video recording the census taker. I will ask him/her their name, address and phone number because I want everything documented, and I will also write down license plate number of their car.
I will tell them we are refusing to answer the questions and I will call local media outlets and tell them we are being continually harassed and threatened and have video footage to prove it. Get angry, people! The government is way overstepping with this grossly invasive survey!
Someone tell me why our federal government needs to know the size of my lot, the number of rooms in my home, number of cars I own, my property taxes, electricity, gas, oil, when I got married, my degree, where I was born, where I work, how many hours I work, how much money I make, etc. Are you kidding me? This survey is nothing but Obama wanting to know more about me so that he can raise my taxes. Sorry Mr. President, you are nothing but a left wing creep.
Three weeks ago, I got my first survey. I started answering the questions until I realized they got too personal. Called my daughter who said "Do not mail it in". Today I received the second one, got online and found your site.
When someone comes to my door, I will call 911. I am sick of this harassment by the government.
I feel that if the government or any organization, much like employers who now want your facebook password, want to know so much about you, then you should be allowed to have a clear background check on each and every employee, maybe even get your own detective license so you can research their information for yourself, after all you have the right to know if the government employees or even regular employers are real nut jobs.
How about a reversal of tactics? If someone is working for taxpayer dollars then you should have info on their personal background, it's what they ask of you after all.
You take the form to an attorney, have him look up the laws and then reference your refusal to answer the questions based on the cases cited on the form, which is what you use for your answers, therefore technically you are answering the questions and you are not being untruthful as you have cited case numbers related to why they are not entitled to that information. Period.
Laws were passed for a reason and to throw them out the window, so to speak, is entirely ridiculous and uncalled for.
In response to number 47 and 77. I don't know about the survey form you got, but the one I got is in clear violation of HIPAA. It is collecting identifying information and medical information, you can't do that. Especially without HIPAA certification of the collector and a clear statement of why that information needs to be collected (using the standard, federally mandated, HIPAA information form) with a legitimate reason to do so. The Commerce Department is not on the very restricted list of allowed agencies to collect this data.
Why do governors, mayors, local officials, and local planners need to know how many rooms I have in my house, how much money I make, or what kind of fuel I use to heat my home? The problem is that we have too many employees on the government dole coming up with wasteful things like this survey. Watch, this survey will get the axe once Congress produces a real budget.
where do governors, mayors, local officials, local planners get data so they know where to build schools, hospitals, highways, plan for new police stations, you might ask? There really is only one place for that, and it is the census bureau. Every first world country in the world has one.
So you don't have to answer that survey if you don't want to, but your community will go slowly slip into the dark ages as those companies that participate will develop and hum with efficiency. by all means, throw it away and stew in your paranoid delusions while the world laughs at you.
Just stand firm and politely refuse to take this survey. No one is going to fine you. Those are just scare tactics. When they call just politely say no.
Obama is starting to get it. Just like you can't force the American people to buy health insurance, you can't force the American people to fill out the ACS survey. It is unconstitutional.
Obama is moving from the left to the middle. He wants to be reelected and be the first black president to serve two terms in office. Watch, this survey will be cut from the budget. Mine went in the trash.
For those who say we need to answer the ACS in order to get funding to meet our needs, that is the flawed premise. Read the Constitution. The point is to give individuals maximum freedom to live in pursuit of their dreams, succeed or fail, with minimal involvement by the government.
The no. 1 job of the government is to defend our borders, our country and protect our citizens. That protection means someone can’t kill me because they don’t like my hat. That protection does not mean regulating my salt and fat intake to keep me healthier. It is not the government’s job to take care of me like a two year old. If I don’t responsibly plan for my retirement, then I should pay the consequences for that decision, not you! Because you, my fellow American, are the one who (forced by the government to give them your hard earned money that they will then decide who to give it to after taking a huge portion for themselves) would pay to take care of me.
Freedom is not pretty. Yes, it means some people will be homeless, some will be hungry, some won’t be able to afford medical treatment. This is where voluntary charity comes in. The individual citizen does a better job of meeting needs and providing aid than any government agency.
Do you know the organization with the largest operating cost percentage? (That means when you give $100, what percentage goes toward running the organization and what percentage actually makes it to the people in need.) Answer: the welfare program of the federal government, with close to 90 percent. Only 10 percent of the funds actually make it to the hands of the needy. Hmm.
I hope this makes you step out of your comfort zone, think outside the box, step away from what feels good (because sometimes true freedom does not feel good), and examine things in a new light. Thank you for the privilege of sharing my thoughts. With kind regards, your neighbor who is happy to help you.
I listened to Obama's State of the Union the other night. Here is a good example of some government fat we can cut. Our government is spending money it doesn't have and is out of control. We don't need this intrusive survey. I am not filling it out.
And how do they get your phone number? From the Census. I changed my number after the Census and now don't receive a phone call with the new number. I do have the first letter saying a survey is coming. I would love to take these criminals to court and sue the hell out of them.
It sure is about funding, right down to the Town level.
Bought the house 13 years ago, two unrelated folks lived here, one rented from the other (Town Assessor: "I had it down as 1 and 1A, but it's fixed now."), but we took the door down on top of the stairs (the only delineation) and made it a single family.
Some months ago, a town assessor stops by, and gruffly acknowledges it's a single family house, despite my curiosity about the two electric meters. I really have no problem with the town recording accurate information about the number of dwellings.
Then *gasp* the ACS shows up! What a coincidence, eh? There has been no mail addressed to Apt. 2 since some months after we moved in (12 years!), but suddenly there is a U.S. Census Bureau survey?
Not being the proper respondent (Apt 2 does not exist and has not existed), I ignored it, and the subsequent follow up mailings.
Sure enough, a field rep shows up unannounced in my driveway as I'm gathering firewood and we talk for approximately twenty minutes (in twenty degrees; me in a hoodie, she in a heated car).
I insist I'm not the proper respondent, and please show me the law that says I am. Two weeks later, the importance of my response propelled my field rep to call while outdoors during a Nor'Easter to say that her manual would "categorize apt 2 to apt 1 which would be found not to exist, which would categorize to the entire house, so you'd have to participate".
Hullabaloo! Give me your bosses name and number. Well, here you go, Copley Square U.S. Census Bureau 800-562-5721, ask for a Francisco Jimenez.
OK, before I call that guy, I'm going to do some research. The town clerk from a neighboring community said, "I don't think you have to answer those questions."
The town assessor, as noted above, corrected her data. I spoke to my town clerk, who also corrected her data (to single family). I spoke to the Citizens Info line for the State of MA, who ultimately suggested, "just participate in it, the answers are confidential."
I do not get through to Mr. Jimenez. I get an "Alexandra" who agrees with my view point that I am not the proper respondent (phew!). My address is a "merge" and back in the pool the correction goes.
Point being, this was a targeted survey, not a "statistical method known as sampling" as law states. The U.S. Census Bureau was not looking out for me when they coerced me to participate. They don't care about integrity, they just want information, but you have to volunteer it.
Hey I volunteer my taxes right? Why not when I wake, sleep, eat and everything else, too, eh? Going to decide what model chainsaw to cut wood to heat the house 'cause oil is so bleeping expensive, too? (what, me mad? awww)
I can't find a court precedent, and I would have been willing to go to court to get an injunction on the invalid addressee contention. Notwithstanding this technicality, my gut feeling was this survey is an invasion of the expectation of privacy and will fail.
Will fail! Your socialist ways to fund the states and communities are a violation of basic civil rights! You employees who tout this program and back its legitimacy just sup at the government teat! Lazy and can't think for yourself!
Learn how to farm people. Education, peaceful protest, and exercise your First amendment rights (not to be silent).
I too, felt our government crossed the line with this intrusive survey. Remember folks, our government consists of elected officials. They work for us, the people of America. This survey is the beginning of socialism. Do you want to live like the people of Cuba? They may all get their measly monthly government handout but they have no freedom.
This survey may have started under the liberals during the Bush administration but it is time for Obama to stop it. Obama has been in office for over two years and it is time for him to take some responsibility. He must listen to the American people who pay his salary and put him in office.
This survey is intrusive, the beginning of socialism, and a waste of tax dollars. Obama, please listen to the American people and stop interfering with our lives. Get rid of this survey. This would be a great first step in reducing our growing national debt. We don't need it!
I got the second form and filled out part of it, but not the intrusive information they have no business knowing, and I sent it in.
I have had a census worker come to my house three times in the last week and leave notes or a card with a number to call back on. My dog wanted to shred the person at the door! He is very protective of us. Therefore we did not answer and after he left we found his card on the door from the ACS. This is the beginning of communism/socialism in this country! Evil! Vile! Beware of the beginning of an evil government taking over our freedom in this country. It's happening and they will stop at nothing.
I have received two A.C.S. forms, several phone calls and today a census worker showed up. I told her my lawyer had advised me not to answer the questions. If I do get fined I will file suit and take it to court.
The ACS started before Obama was even in office, so don't blame him.
Response to - anon130010 # 91: Please don't worry. The maximum fine for refusing to fill out the form is $100. Other, higher fines only kick in if you tell a lie.
So be honest, tell them my privacy is worth more to me than a little money, so I refuse to participate. They can't determine any fine. That would be a judge's job. It might be $5. or $25. $100 is the maximum.
Also, you won't be fined at all. Apparently, they don't enforce this. Personally, if I have to, I'll go in front of a judge and pay $100 before I'll cooperate with communists.
Only credible death threats might get me to fill this piece of trash survey out. I have one right now. I'm a good citizen. I recycle.
Response to - anon134855: We have an absolute fundamental right to peaceful enjoyment of our homes without intrusive government agents interrupting our busy enough lives, usurping our private time, and asking/requesting/demanding all sorts of personal and private information that you have no right to even ask.
It makes no difference what a law says, or that you think it's your job to do it. What you do is a violation of our Constitutionally protected right to privacy.
Read the 4th Amendment. It isn't all about you! Can't "you people" just cooperate and leave us alone? That's a perfectly reasonable expectation by any standard.
Just received the ACS. It is resting comfortably in my home office in box. Tomorrow it will be shredded.
We had the biggest scare of our life. Someone started showing up at our door right after our dog was attacked by a pit bull. A young man neatly dressed with supposedly Dept of Commerce credentials told my husband briefly that he wanted to do a survey like the census but it wasn't the census.
He never identified the actual survey as the ACS. But from the information listed here on this website, we now know that's what he was trying to complete. The scary thing was since we have other undesirables in this urban community and our dog had been attacked recently, we thought he was trying to set us up for possibly a home invasion, because his questions were so evasive and my husband told him that he was coming to the house too late (one night he came after 9 p.m.) we couldn't figure out what he wanted.
Finally, because I was so spooked I asked my husband to tell him not to come back. He had to tell him two nights in a row: "Don't come back I'm not going to participate in any survey."
The second night he even offered my husband a gift card because his supervisor was threatening loss of his job.
I'm glad I found this website; it has helped calm my nerves. Yesterday, I sent this info to our neighborhood association. There is no telling what I would have done today. I felt like strapping down (Annie get your gun). Stay safe.
I have received the two mailed ACS forms, and both were discarded. I am now waiting for the phone calls or visits to start.
I will just tell them "No." I will not give them any information. Period.
I am boycotting the ACS. First off, way too much personal information for the feds to have. Most of the questions are none of their business. I also believe it ties in with HB3200. Check out some of these parts of the bill; Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual’s bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts. Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient’s age. Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an “end-of-life planning” seminar every five years. (Death counseling.)
In my opinion, the ACS is asking questions that could be used in HB3200, which, in effect, is a bill to euthanize old people.
This survey is a waste of tax payer dollars. Our government is so far in debt it is ridiculous. Obama just wants to keep spending money he doesn't have. Boycott this survey. This is one piece of crap we can cut. It is a no-brainer!
They never left messages when they called. Yesterday they left a business card on the door and a letter. I called the phone number and said "We are declining to participate." They asked for my address, I gave it. They asked for my name, I declined. After all, they tell me my address was chosen, not me personally.
Besides, in light of Wikileaks, does anyone really trust the government 'confidentiality' argument?
I work with this survey and let me ask you: isn't it just easier to just freaking fill it out and then send it in? I mean, it is annoying for us to be coming to your homes and then dealing with all kinds of people who not only slam the door in our faces, but many times are rude. All we need to know is a nice, "Sorry I am not interested, please leave".
Instead, some of you people just ignore us, making us come back again and again. This survey is helpful for your communities. Depending on your responses, the government gives money to your community. For example, if you use any government aid like WIC, or Medicaid, maybe your community needs more money for these things if we see that these are necessary.
Also, we would like to know what time you leave for work to see if maybe more roads are needed to be built for a better, faster commute. Can't you people just cooperate and fill out this form?
It is all confidential. And no, we can't go to the IRS or Social Security office to ask your info. We don't really work together with them. If we could do that, then we wouldn't be going to your homes and asking these things.
Folks, don't fill this ACS survey out. Our government doesn't need to know what time you leave for work in the morning. This survey is a waste of tax payers dollars. Challenge the government flunky that calls you or shows up at your front door threatening a fine if you don't fill it out. Tell them no one has been fined to date. They are just trying to scare you.
This is just one more piece of Obama's socialism crap. We live in a free America! Do not forget that.
Got an ACS questionnaire in the mail and began filling it out. As I got further into it I was asking myself, are they serious? This is way too much private information.
I live in America because of freedom. This questionnaire is down right socialist. Our elected officials have no right to get this information.
Heck, Obama won't even share his birth certificate for cripes' sake! I took my questionnaire and shredded it. Let them try to strong arm me to fill it out. If they send me another one it gets thrown away. If they call my I'll record the phone call and send it to the media.
If they show up at my front door I'll video tape them and send it to the media. If they fine me I'll sue! Hey Obama, I've got a job and I'm trying to make a living and support my family. Please end this crap and stop interfering with our lives!
Never got a questionnaire in the mail from the ACS, just someone showing up when we weren't home. Made the mistake of calling the woman to find out what this was about.
When I told her all I had to answer was the number of people in the household, she immediately started with threats of fines and not obeying the law. I was very concerned about her rudeness and belittling tactics. Especially, from a government agency. So, I asked for her supervisor's number (approximately five times). She finally gave me a name and number which I immediately called and got an answering machine. The name on the answering machine was not even the one she gave me. Sounds like from reading these posts there is a lot more to come.
Thank you so much for all your posts. Funny that I was more concerned with her demeanor and immediate attacks. Her approach just didn't seem right. They are so used to people's responses they automatically get defensive. Hello, someone needs to get a clue, uhh, maybe a Congressman.
Got one form in the mail, sent it back filled out, got a call saying they never got my info. I did it over the phone. they call from another place in IN. Say they have no info. I will not take the survey three times. what crap.
This is the most intrusive and invasive form I have ever received. It is an insult in a free democracy. I'm appalled. And the threat of prosecution. I cannot afford to be hiring a lawyer. The envelope is sealed and ready to go because I don't want legal hassles, but after reading these posts, I wish I had listed no phone.
This is appalling, repugnant. I'm incredulous.
When I received the ACS form in the mail, I just filled out my name and gave my phone number, but none of the other questions seemed to pertain to me because we have only lived at the address for two months.
Today, they called me and asked me all those questions. After being naive and spending all that time on the phone answering the questions, I am now regretting it. How do I know if that was really someone from the bureau?
I don't even know who was asking me those questions and what he did with the answers. It's not like I gave him SS#'s, but I still don't like the idea of my information going to someone who's not legitimate. What do I do now?
I am totally against the 46 page community survey because no person that I have called to see if they received this american community survey they all say no! If the government is going to mail out to only the ones they want to and not everyone it is a total discrimination against a section of the population.
I didn't send the first one I received and now got another which states, if I don't do what they say we will be in violation of this law and be taken to court.
What is going on in our country is terrible! We already sent in the required Census form sent out this summer. What the (blank) does the govt need all this personal information for. I'm surprised they didn't ask or require how many times one uses the bathroom, sleeps or has sex.
I worked for what I came to call the Senseless Bureau back in 2000. I don't have room to tell all the ways that the whole process was screwed up.
I can say that I completely lost all confidence in government when I saw how badly the census was managed. It had nothing to do with counting heads and everything to do with making those that were in charge look good.
So now I get this survey in the mail with all these intrusive and bizarre questions. Hell no, I won't answer any of them. We received many phone calls from the Senseless Bureau and we quit answering the phone for a while.
Then my husband just told 'em we're not going to answer, put us down as noncompliant. That was two nights ago. Today I received another call. I told her the same thing, and when she wouldn't listen and went into what I can only describe as a telemarketer spiel, I hung up. I've had enough.
My congressmen are going to hear from me, and my husband and I are spreading the word to everyone we know. This is outrageous and absurd.
I received the American Community Survey. On Page 10, Question 33 for Person 1 - "What time did this person usually leave home to go to work last week?" I'm very bothered by this type of questioning. I've been thinking it's an identity thief trying to find out everything about my family and they plan on "offing" us, but first they need to know our routines, etc., so the transition will be seamless.
Are they outside my house taking pictures of us? Are they Pod People? Am I paranoid? Yes.
I completed the census this spring, now I get the American Community Survey. After reviewing it, I decided that it could be a mail fraud scam. Next thing I know I start getting phone calls marked American Bank on caller ID. They never speak when I answer the phone - maybe they don't speak English!
Sure, I'll fill it out. If they come to my house, I'll invite them in while I'm feeding my son dinner or what have you, I'll give them any information that I have off the top of my head, anything that I don't, they'll either have to wait for me to get it when I have the chance or they can get it themselves. Let them do all of the work.
I just went through the ACS questionnaire. What a bunch of baloney. The sentence structure makes it appear to be written by someone that does not have English as a native language. On the form, my name is "resident of ____. I was born in this great country, so my origin is not Hispanic and my race is "American". What else is meaningful? I will return the form with that information.
We received two survey packets, and ignored them. Got three phone calls and on the last one, my husband told them not to call back. The caller said she would mark us "refused survey". Then asked if we would take 20 mins to complete survey on the phone. We said no.
We have received two letters stuck in the door, addressed to resident, ignored them. This week we got a Fedex envelope, ignored it. We have contacted our Congressman and are waiting for his response. Ridiculous. We refuse to complete this survey. It is an invasion of privacy.
About being fined by ACS: I sent a letter to the Rutherford institute (legal organization that often addresses our civil rights). This was a couple months ago.
I was told that no one has been fined; but they would really like to hear from anyone who has. The Rutherford Institute asks that anyone who has contact them immediately. They would love to be able to take them to court because they feel they have no right to be asking the questions.
The Rutherford Institute has a website. They are a very reputable organization. We received our ACS surveys in February and are finally not hearing from them at all. We chose not to respond to their letters, calls.
Received from ACS the two phone calls, I figured I would answer some of the basic questions and the ones that got too personal I refused to answer. Running water and toilets and internet access, these seem like questions a marketing company would ask. Then the financial questions, I told him to contact the IRS since they are both federal agencies they could get it from them.
I guess I have to wait and see if someone comes by and tries to get me to answer the ones I refused to.
I did my part, now they can leave me alone.
The government already gets a W-2 for most people and tax returns. Why do they need that information again?
The ACS Survey, is not a violation of the 4th Amendment, nor does it violate HIPAA. It does not ask what time you get home from work or even what time you go to bed. It did become a law in 2005.
And to Anon82623: the Census Bureau is part of the Department of Commerce. No, the Census Bureau cannot post any fines or sue anyone, but they can turn it over to the Justice Department for fines and penalties. Lawyers can do nothing about it, and the cops can't either.
So when you can't afford to pay for your real estate taxes,your light bill, water bill or you need new roads, bridges whatever it may be, and you can't get the funding from your governor, it's because of people like you posting on this page that causes no funding.
I dutifully filled out my census form. Then I got my ACS and my very favorite question was if my 5 year old has trouble dressing and bathing himself, or if he has trouble making decisions and remembering things. Shoes on the wrong feet all the time, forgetting to wash behind his ears - so yes, yes, and yes! What nonsense.
With identify theft running rampant who would want to divulge such personal information? If hackers can steal data from 'secure' banking computing facilities does one really think that the 'crack' computer specialists at the Census Bureau can protect our information. If they're that good then they can hack my computer and get the information they seek for themselves.
It is very sad that slowly and surely the government is becoming an entity to be feared and rightly so. The American people are being manipulated and managed more and more. This is an intrusive and insulting survey, that I won't complete. I am a 59 year old registered nurse. I still have to work and I have been paying taxes for 38 years. Does the government want to put me in jail. So be it.
I am one of the fortunate who received the lengthy form. I feel it's none of their business, and feel its an invasion of our privacy. I have no intention of filling out the form. I have now received two. I told them I was in the hospital and have health issues I am dealing with and no time to fill this form out. I hung up on them, now they are calling again. Now what do I do?
I'm certainly not proud to be an american now. In the past 30 years our countries leaders have done nothing but helped themselves and those that helped them get elected. they are driving this the richest country on earth to a third world country.
anybody with half a brain knows what's wrong with this country, but the decision makers aren't going to change what makes them rich, even if they destroy our country for their kids and grand kids.
Unemployment is so high but yet we have trillions to spend over oil wars, how many factories would that have built in the USA? how many jobs would that have created? when this country was great right up to the 1960's anyone who wanted a job could work because we didn't import hardly anything. if we needed a product we built it and better than anybody else.
If it costs more than a model from china fine, because our families will have more money since they will all have jobs. Explain to me again how you can have a democracy as long as lobbyists exist?
Oh yeah i got one, no actually two of those damned ACS surveys too, and numerous phone calls. i guess i will just have to go to jail for non-compliance! I'm a veteran and i think back of all our family who has fought and died defending our country's rights, and now we have to endure this. we paid our price now give us our peace.
this country is no better than the one we left to avoid treatments just like this. you know if our leaders had to take this ACS they would have to lie like hell or get locked up I'm betting.
My form just arrived today and it will see the same treatment as my census form: the trash can. They can send out an army of representative and threaten all they want. The only thing they will get is a stern reminder that they are on private property and they are uninvited trespassers!
Our right to keep our personal information private is under attack, people.
Only a very naive person would fill out the American Community Survey or the ACS with all the risk associated with the need to protect personal security.
Let's see if I have this right: I am required by law to give up my private information to ACS which imposes fines from $100 (possibly up to $5,000 in fines/penalties) and even threatens me with imprisonment should I dare deny them of this information and yet, they do not even have the right to protect my personal information.
Every act that creates something like the American Community Survey also contains provisions by which it is absolved of all responsibility for failure to protect this information.
History shows, between 1942 and 1947, the data that was collected by the census bureau was handed over to the FBI and other organizations, at the request of President Roosevelt, and that's how the Japanese were rounded up and put into the internment camps.
Help make the ACS survey voluntary, not mandatory!
Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians alike should all be concerned about the ACS survey asking intrusive questions that violates our right to keep our personal information private.
I am a democrat and am outraged by the silence from the left and mainstream media on this important topic. The time is now to demand that your congressional leaders make the ACS questionnaire voluntary. Have them support HR 3131 to make the ACS voluntary. It has already been introduced in congress but hasn't passed yet, so we all need to put pressure on our congressional leaders to make this survey voluntary now.
I am a democrat and not a fan of the RNC, however, I must admit they are leading the way for the ACS survey to be made voluntary, and for that I am grateful for their efforts in this area. If the DNC would get on board as the RNC has recently done, then bill HR 3131 may have a good chance of getting passed into law.
Contact the DNC and ask for Tim Kaine, chairman, and demand that he get on board with the RNC and help support Congress to get this bill, H.R. 3131 passed into law right away.
The RNC is in full support of having this bill passed into law.
Please spread the word to everyone you know to contact their congressional leaders to make the American Community Survey or ACS voluntary. We must act now!
We received the first survey from the US Census -- 10 questions. Filled it out, sent it in.
Then we received the American Community Survey in the mail, started filling it out and could not believe the questions they expected us to answer! None of their business! Refused to send it in. Received letters in mail stating we were required by law to fill out their census.
Then we had two ACS tagged reps show up at our home. We were not home the first time and they left a note and information on our door. The second time I answered the door. I told her we weren't comfortable releasing this private information to anyone. My family members don't even have that personal information about us and that it was a complete invasion of privacy. She said she would send more information to us explaining that we do have to complete it by law.
I am looking up as much information as I can, but thinking a lawyer would have more insight to this. I'm liking what Beck says about it! Calling and writing letters to express my concerns to all our local government and voting accordingly this year.
I have a a typical family of four, average income, own a home. Just spent over and hour filling out the form. I actually counted all my answers just for the hell of it- 204 separate answers if I count name and address. I'm now shredding it. We must fight this. Don't give in!
Census number two received and census number two trashed.
I refuse to fill this document out. Just received my first letter, and i have contacted several senators and governors.
We received the ACS form and we are not filling it out. How dare we be asked about our health, marriage and what time we leave for work? No one in my house has ever taken one cent of taxpayer funds to put food on our table or a roof over our heads.
We have always worked for what we have and I will not have my privacy invaded like this. By the way, folks, this legislation was passed during the Bush Administration. Check your facts.
I have received two in the mail, too. I hear at the end of the month, they start showing up. I have no intentions of giving them my life history either! And, as for the phone, I never answer it anyway. Everyone knows never to call my home phone.
Guys, I just received this monstrosity in the mail. This has been asked before, but has anyone actually been fined for not filling it out?
I got this damn form twice-the first I threw away. Today I got another. When I looked at the damn questions it was clear to me they have no business asking them. I called the number and told them I did not intend to fill it out and I was returning it to them blank!
I also told them if they want to do something about it make sure they get a "search warrant" and an "arrest warrant" for me.
These people have no business knowing what my utility bills or mortgage payments are -- none of this. To hell with them!
I am a former police officer and I know what it takes for them to do something about this. They are doing nothing more than making threats and that is it.
if they begin calling, I will deal with them. I have no intention of allowing our government to overstep itself like this. Nope, not with me!
I am calling their bluff on this one. --John in Texas!
I agree with most all of you. These strange questions they ask are not directly pertinent to funding. Like the question about your marital status and the year of your last marriage! What?
I am glad to have found your site. I thought that I was overreacting, but apparently not. Unlike most of you, I did fill out the form, to avoid the hassle of their calls and letters. But who knows, maybe I will still be contacted. Maybe they will have "misplaced it" or not received it.
Note to self: If there is a next time, just send the survey back Certified Mail, with a receipt!
One thing that is not clear, though: They depend on us answering all the questions, but does this agency have the authority to do further investigation of our info? Could they go to the utility companies, to our workplaces, to our banks, etc., and seek out info, or to seek clarification? If so, then this is truly Orwellian in its scope.
The most unnerving thing is, after we release all of this info, how many of their employees have access to it, and will they do all they can to truly safeguard it? And maybe more importantly: how many other agencies will have direct access to our personal info?
I only wish I had discovered this site before I answered all of their questions!
On a more technical note, have you noticed the size of the survey booklet? It is not standard, and not easy to scan on a typical scanner.
I was one of the lucky 2 percent. I am amazed they didn't ask if I wiped my butt before I used that indoor plumbing, or if I washed my hands using that running water from one of the faucets that have running water. Gee, these are health issues the health department might be interested in.
How about the cost of all the postage we taxpayers pay just to have our privacy invaded?
Socialism is here!
Just received questionnaire number 2. I'm going to file it under T. For Trash! They have no right to ask these questions.
Got my second survey in the mail this past week. It will go into the shredder just like the first one. As a strong believer in the Second Amendment, and a retired US Marine Corps Officer, I would say that if the fat, sweaty, pathetic slob from post #42 had stuck his foot in my front door and yelled expletives at me, he would have more than likely have been treated as an intruder, and found himself looking at a six inch piece of cold blued steel.
We received the ACS this past spring. They mailed it to us twice, then sent a postcard saying, "We know you got it", etc. Then the phone calls started in June, but with caller ID, we simply ignored them. The calls suddenly stopped, and I wondered what next.
While we were away from home two nights ago, a local census worked left a card and info on why we must answer these questions and a number to set up a phone interview. She was also very chatty on the note.
Tonight, I inadvertently took a call from her, since she had her number listed as "Private Caller", which my husband does as well -- I thought it was him. She was very friendly with me, tried to get me into a conversation about the local area, but I was pretty silent. She finally asked me if I had time to go over the questions with her and I politely refused. I told her, "You can put us down as No Response, because I am not going to answer those questions." Her response was "OK, well that's all I needed to know. Have a good evening." I responded in kind.
So, we will wait and see what, if anything happens next! Will update if anything more comes of this.
I received the ACS and discarded it. Waiting for the rest to happen. Has anyone called the local police to see if they will do anything?
Well, I refused to do my ACS. I received a follow-up ACS with a threatening letter. I have received no phone calls, however today, about 30 days after my second mailed ACS, I received a visit from a census worker. We'll see how that goes.
I'm going to try to keep ignoring them and see what happens. As far as I am concerned, this ACS is too much information for the government to ask me.
Don't give in to this intrusion of privacy. I'm tired of hearing/reading comments that "They already know all of this stuff, anyway." It's the principle of the thing. Even if they know your personal information, why would you want to aid/abet them in violating your Constitutional rights?
" This country is too slanted to socialism"?
What does the ACS have to do with socialism? It's all about capitalism and marketing products and Walmart stores for you and your neighborhood. You people are right in that it is too intrusive when the information it requests is already available to the government.
But before you go ranting about big government and socialism why don't you try reading some history? You might learn something.
I got my ACS a couple of weeks ago. Have already gotten follow-up mail. Not sure about phone calls because I don't answer my land line. I'll just echo several sentiments: I feel that telling the government when every member of my family leaves for work is TMI. When did I last get married? Do I have an emotional condition that makes it difficult for me to concentrate? Come on! Big Brother much?
To anon42702: Less than 48 percent of the country "complains the government doesn't do anything" -- The rest of us are sick of paying for all things that the Federal government has no business doing. From where exactly do you think those billions of dollars you say the government is "giving" come? Taxpayers would very much appreciate if the federal government was limited to the functions outlined in the Constitution, and will demonstrate this frustration in November.
So, this is how the O admin goes about getting the info they wanted in the first place. When word came down that our census would be 'all intrusive'..the people said no way. They shaved it down, only to waste for time and money sending us part deux. Well, they can forget it. No way will we reply.
Anyone comes to my door, they can knock until their knuckles bleed because I will not answer it. I've been getting calls from some 000-000 number for weeks. I'm sure it's a political thing too, but thankfully we have caller ID.
Someone tries to bully me or push their way in the door, they will be telling their story to a cop.
Got the ACS, promptly threw it away, got another one a few weeks later and threw that away. When I got the regular census form, I filled it out and sent it in, no problem.
In early April, the census bureau starting calling several times a day for about three weeks, but I have caller ID and never answered the phone.
That stopped, but then last night while I was gone, my 15-year-old son told me they came to the door and knocked persistently for about 15 minutes saying "Federal government", went and sat in their car for about 10 minutes and then started knocking on the door again.
They left an envelope taped to the door. In it was a copy of the statute that says it's a crime not to answer the questions, a brochure explaining all the wonderful things the information is for, a list of FAQ's, and a note from the census worker about calling her or inviting her to answer the questions in person(he).
She also hand wrote that within a few days she would have to turn in the "case". I felt somewhat threatened. I was wondering though, what can they not ask you. If the statute says you must answer every question, couldn't they theoretically ask you about for example your sexual orientation, etc, etc. What is the limit? Who decides?
"We are not required to answer anything beyond number of people, name, age, sex and race" is erroneous. The Constitution gave the House of Representatives the power to conduct the Census every 10 years and in such Manner as they shall by Law direct, and they have directed the Census Bureau to ask the questions on the American Community Survey which is why answering the questions is "required by law".
How does the ACS violate HIPAA? HIPAA Privacy Rule provides federal protections for personal health information and the American Community Survey is collecting demographic, not personal health information.
It's pretty obvious that the person who keeps posting that the census has been around since the 1800's has never seen or been sent an ACS questionnaire. It goes far beyond the national census which most people have no problem answering.
Your name, address, personal medical, financial, job, how long you are away from home, how large your home and property are. The ACS is much more than the census. And I agree, definitely violates HIPAA.
The constitution says that we have to say how many live in our house and then it says, "or so directed by Congress." The Census Act of March 1, 1790 calls for "name, age, sex and race." We are not required to answer anything beyond number of people, name, age, sex and race.
As far as not sharing the information with another government agency goes, that is crap because the ACS is initiated by the Department of Commerce under the auspices of the Census Bureau, which means the Census Bureau will be sharing the information with the Department of Commerce.
We never received the ACS in the mail -- not once.
We did however, receive a visit from a Census worker requesting us to answer it on her computer. Told her we would not answer it that way, to mail it to us.
We still haven't received the form in the mail as requested, but the Census worker has shown up at our home three times and the Census Bureau has sent us three letters advising us how important it is, blah, blah, blah.
We do not want to answer this intrusive survey and with all these visits, it's like we're being stalked on our own property. Grrr.
I just received my second ACS. I read the story about the fat guy sticking his foot inside holding the door open in the comments. I consider this breaking and entering and in my opinion, you are allowed to shoot this person for threatening behavior!
This survey is extremely invasive. It looks as if it goes back to Clinton and became law in the Bush administration. This country is too slanted to socialism and I refuse to give any information that wants personal information on me or my family.
I got two census forms this year the normal 10 question one, and the one with 46 questions The American Community Survey. I really had no problem filling out the 10 questioner but when in came to the invasive 46 questions I refused.
Needless to say, a very aggressive older man showed up at my door. He was about 56 in age, sweaty and overweight. He wanted me to answer the 46 questions. When I politely refused and said please have a good day sir, I then attempted to close the door. He put his foot in the door and would not allow me to close the door.
Then when I asked him to move his foot he started shouting at me "What the hell is wrong with all you people in this bleeping neighborhood! what are you all scared of?" Apparently I was not the only one in the neighborhood who received one of these forms since there where four other names on his list that had not answered in the questionnaire in my neighborhood.
And since I seemed to be the fifth he must have been set to blow when he got to my house. Since then I have had several calls and a female census worker stopped by twice to tape a letter to my door. I guess the other guy got fired or quit.
We have installed video cameras at both the back and the front door so if I see it's them I just don't answer the door.
It is very upsetting to me that these people are allowed to treat you like dirt in your own home. They are allowed to bully you and harass you at your home at your work place and on your home and cell phones. I am posting this is hopes that something could be done about these people who seem to think because they have a census badge they can harass and bully regular citizens of this country.
All I want to say is thank you to all of you true Americans. If anyone knows history, they know that our forefathers came to the USA just because of crap like this in the old country.
I have also received this intrusive form and many phone calls and do not plan on answering any of the questions.
I have answered the census with the 10 questions and sent it back the day it was received. It is real interesting that we have not heard anything, or at least I have not heard anything on the radio or TV regarding the American Community Survey. Is the press afraid to talk about it?
Maybe none of them in the right places have received one of the American Community Surveys yet.
We received this ridiculous, time consuming, invasion of privacy form. I thought it was the census and completed it. Then, we received 14 phone calls bugging us about it and wanting to get the info over the phone. They would not accept that we mailed it back. I wish I had thrown it in the trash.
How convenient that the so called government knows what time each family member leaves and returns to our home, how much we make, our bills we owe, our children and their schedules. Wow, what is all this for? To build a WalMart or a few traffic lights? Wow, you are kidding?
Then, we shredded our real census form thinking it was a duplicate. Big joke-- try to call the toll free numbers and speak with a person or press 25 buttons to never find an option that we need a replacement form. Oops! Hate it when that happens!
I won't be sending it in. The regular 10 question one? Already in. The census is important. But this thing? Not a chance.
I wish I would get one of these things. I like talking about myself and sharing my information. I have nothing to hide and I don't fear the government. Maybe, because my father is a well respected lawyer. The fine for not filling it out is just like the fine for not having insurance: It's not enforced! Take off the tin-foil hats, turn off Beck and just be good to one another.
It has nothing to do with being counted for the census. What does what I pay for utilities, or what I drive, or what my health condition have to do with a census? I feel the information is highly personal, and if they want to know what we earn, check the income tax returns for the last few years. Then they will know the government is putting us all into the poor house.
Go ahead, government, spend more money on your surveys, stamps, personnel to go chase down and harass 'resident' for being bad. Come on, murderers and rapists have more rights than the working people.
By the way--though we have determined not to fill out the American Community Survey, we had no trouble filling out the 10-question census form.
That one seems legit--except why didn't it ask if I was a citizen, born in America? Does this mean people who are not citizens have a voice in a country in which they are living illegally?
We received the American Community Survey in January. We received one month of mail--which eventually threatened us with penalties if we didn't fill it out. Then a month of phone calls. Every day. Then twice a day.
When we answered one of those phone calls and told the woman we were looking into the legality of the survey, we received a threatening letter from them the next day, including a copy of the USA code which says it is mandated. We got two phone messages over one weekend which told us to call and gave us our "case number!" Then we were getting phone calls from them twice every day. Abruptly they stopped.
I looked it up in their handbook--since we didn't respond to either bullying tactic, we are eligible for the next phase. We received a letter in the mail which says we will be visited by a Census Bureau rep if we don't turn in our American Community Survey. We won't turn it in, so I'm sure we'll be hearing about it from a Rep.
By the way, they're trained in various techniques which are designed to get people to reveal their information.
We don't intend on revealing anything to them. We spoke to a constitutional lawyer about the harassment we've been getting from the Census Bureau--he says they can't challenge the census until someone is actually fined. Only then can they defend this in court.
I'm hoping the Census Bureau actually does this--the lawyer with whom we spoke seemed quite interested we have been assigned a case number.
Their tactics to get information out of American citizens is reminiscent of what bill collectors use to get money owed. We do not owe our government information about our intimate habits and financial status.
I too received the ACS. I threw it away, thinking it was either a scam, or junk mail. Later, another form was sent. Again, I threw it away. Then, a note was left taped to my front door, with a hand-written note asking me to "call for a telephone or in-person interview." I threw this away, too.
This person returned to my house and left the same note again five times (so far). I have also received follow-up letters from the department of commerce. At first, they were addressed to "resident." Now, they come addressed to the previous tenant of this house (ha! ha!). So thankfully, they still do not know who I am.
I will not answer this invasive, unconstitutional interrogation! The ACS violates our 4th amendment right to search without a warrant, our 5th amendment right from self-incrimination, and our more nuanced right to privacy, rooted in the 9th amendment.
So far, I have only received the regular census form, which I completed (except for my phone number, which is none of their business). If I get this ACS form later, I plan to use it for litter box liner. After "Pearl" does her thing on it, I will mail it back to whoever sent it in the first place. Hopefully, they will finally get the "none of your business" message. My Himalayan cat is definitely more intelligent than these bureaucratic clowns! Cheers! --RFWAVELENGTH
I am glad to see that I'm not the only one who sees this very personal and none-of-their business questionnaire as an invasion of my privacy. I have decided that since no one by the name of "Resident" lives at my address, I am not obliged to fill it out. I have also contacted my state senator John Cornyn to see what he has to say.
This is positively a violation of our fourth amendment rights. A government entity/law enforcement can collect data, property, or intrude upon the privacy of any person without a warrant. This is totally infringing on Americans rights.
For those who think this is to help on Federal funding give me a break.
Well, the ordeal has started! Got the first one a few weeks ago. Thought it was a phishing scam. Possibly got another, I really haven't paid attention. Phone calls to my wife this last week.
Thought it was time to do some internet research. Great sites!
Gotta figure out how to harass them more than they harass me. Incredibly personal questions, including a bunch that appear to violate the HIPPA laws.
Bloody amazing what they can get away with.
In order to comply with the Census requirements, simply turn over the letter accompanying the survey questionnaire and write the number of persons under your roof, whether or not they are american citizens and that you refuse to answer any more questions. Place the letter into the return envelope and send it back to ACS. Discard the rest of the survey.
Anon16943, the questionnaire is not unconstitutional. The constitution doesn't say anything about you putting up with an annoyance you get through the mail or phone or even by someone knocking on your door.
If you don't want to answer, don't. There may be consequences but those can be worked out in our legal system. Please, please, oh God, please, read up on the specifics of the constitution and follow up with a good study of some constitutional law sites and understand the subject you are writing on.
You shouldn't post foolish statements that simply broadcast the fact that you have no education or if you do you never learned how to apply it in the form detailed research and critical thought. Its like saying the USA is an illegitimate country because some of the guys involved in writing the Bill of Rights were born in England. It's just a stupid, false argument.
I don't like the survey either but I can put my response in perspective and my response doesn't have to rely on a misinformed, knee-jerk reference to one of the greatest documents on Earth. I can be an adult and just say no. --James C.
response to post 42702: You are missing the point. The main objection of virtually all posters here is not the amount of time spent to complete the survey but rather the intrusive collection of personal information. Only a very naive or uninformed citizen would trust a power hungry government with such data. Get educated!
I have received two of the packets. I have no intention of answering all these mind-boggling, time-consuming questions.
I too received two packets in the mail. I dated both set them aside with no intention of returning them. The second came Feb. 1.
I just received my fifth phone call which was answered by my machine. I returned the call and requested all further phone calls stop. We will see how this works out.
I would rather give $5,000 to a lawyer to sue the government over right to privacy violation than fill out this form. It is a slap in our face.
We don't own property, the government landlord will kick us off if we don't pay the annual rent in taxes.
We don't have privacy if the government can harm us if we don't answer any question they ask. I have never sued anyone, but I would join this one.
I threw away the first ACS I received. I got another a couple weeks later. We got the first phone call today. It is an incredible invasion of privacy. Can I tell the caller no way? If I do answer, it will be lies.
I have received two packets with the 28 page questionnaire in it and also a letter. This was in Nov. and Dec. of 2009. No phone calls yet. I don't plan on filling them out. They were addressed to "resident".
I did have to go to the post office and sign for the first one. Has anyone had any luck with getting a newspaper to run anything about what I consider, this U.S. government invasion of privacy.
This "form" (28 pages of the most intrusive, personal questions I have ever seen - and that includes any ever asked on a loan application!) arrived yesterday. There is no way I am going to fill it out. This is a blatant invasion of privacy and I would love to see a class-action suit go forward in protest.
I remember getting the ACS back in 2000, I believe. I can't remember for sure if I completed it or not (I think I did). Now, in 2009, I have gotten two of the forms and today I got a letter from the Dept. of Commerce that is actually signed by a human.
It says that they've tried to contact me to no avail and for me to call this person to set up an interview. It also has a bold-typed part that says, "A Federal law (Title 13, United States Code) authorizes this survey and requires that you participate in the survey. This law also requires that Census Bureau employees keep all survey answers confidential by not allowing any other government agency or court system access to your answers."
All of the threats and wastes of paper and it's addressed to "current resident." I'm not filling out this unconstitutional liberty-defeating survey and I really want them to try to take me er, "Current resident" to court about it.
I've read US Code Title 13 and as far as I can ascertain, neither me nor anyone else is legally obligated to fill out anything.
All we are required to do as prescribed by law is to tell the Dept. of Commerce how many persons are living under our roof. Period.
“maybe people should pay more attention in government class. the census is not new, it has been around since the 1800's. write your congressman! you give out more info to private companies when applying for credit; and *they* shamelessly sell it to anyone who pays, including the U.S. government. the law does not require you to vote, but it does require the census. so maybe you'd have more of a voice if you took part. write congress. maybe they'll exempt you because you're so special, and can't be bothered.” anon41529
You've got to be kidding, right? I can walk away from a credit application if I want. I'm not threatened with breaking the law and fines for doing so. Furthermore I've never been asked what type of fuel I burn, what time I leave for work and come home again.
Don't compare apples to oranges. And no I'm not special. I'm one person and I want one vote. Unfortunately there are those who think this is not good, ACORN being one of them.
I think the law will be changed now that people are finally opening their eyes.
I am infuriated. I received this ACS in the mail and the questions it contains are, I feel, none of their business. We own our own business. However the neighbors surrounding our home are middle income families. How can they base our answers to form any kind of judgment in comparison with the families around us? And how dare they ask what our incomes are? I feel if this ACS needs those particulars answered they should be in touch with the IRS. I mean aren't they a government entity as well?
I certainly don't want to get fined for not answering these questions but on the other hand, I feel it is my right as an American not to answer them if I so choose.
We have endured the hassles of the ACS census takers for the last four months. We live in a rural community and our acreage is gated so they could not come to our front door. We endured four to six phone calls a day, countless trips with them leaving materials attached to our front gate. Veiled threats were constant and continued up to the last day. I finally called the census taker at her home phone number and informed her that all of the materials she had left, including the threats, had been turned over to our attorney to determine the constitutionality of the questionnaire and he would be in touch. All she could do was stammer and stutter until I finally hung up. Ten minutes later she called and left a message that she had turned the form in as a "no response" but feel free to call her if I changed my mind. Just mention an attorney and it will be over!
The census is not new, but the census was not overreaching like the ACS. Why does anyone need to know when I go to sleep (yes, that question is on the ACS)? Also, how does asking an elderly retired person if they would accept a job if employment was offered benefit a city planning committee? It doesn't. Name, age, number of residents -- I'm fine with that. Go ahead and even ask my race. Fine. But asking about my personal behaviors invades my privacy and that is where the ACS went astray. For clarification (and in response to prior comments), no, you don't give more information away when applying for a credit card. What next, the toilet paper industry will give funding so the ACS can ask about wiping habits? Don't be pressured folks. The basic information is sufficient. The government cannot sue you for not providing any other details.
Soon, all your information will be available to those in control via computer database.
Once they implement the National Identification Card with embedded electronic chip, which you will be required to have to do anything including banking, your information will be avaiable.
Just like giving out your true info over the net is very, very dangerous. This questionnaire is against the law and to me is like a slap in the face by our elected officials.
The census is required by the constitution. That's where you count people. This is way beyond counting people and with a fine, I believe it violates the fourth amendment. If someone is fined, where would they go to start the process of taking this to court (to the supreme court if necessary)? It seems a bit extreme to have to do this but it's the principle, not the details. If we lay down for this, what's next?
Are you kidding me? People complain the government doesn't do anything. Now the government is giving billion of dollars to states to fund programs and you can't take time out of your schedule to fill out a form.
Why does Arbitron (TV ratings company) get close to 100 percent cooperation for TV show research? It seems people value TV more than their communities.
Fill out the survey and help your community.
maybe people should pay more attention in government class. the census is NOT new, it been around since the 1800's. write your congressman! you give out more info to private companies when applying for credit; and *they* shamelessly sell it to anyone who pays, including the U.S. government. the law does not require you to vote, but it does require the census. so maybe you'd have more of a voice if you took part. write congress. maybe they'll exempt you because you're so special, and can't be bothered.
For those who have survived this nightmare, please share what to do and what not to do. How can we know for sure that no one has ever been fined? I've read that, but is it just copied from one site to another, how do we know for sure?
they will quit calling eventually. they did me. also, they can threaten all they want to. they have no business invading the privacy of my home. i will *not* be intimidated into doing something that they think i should and give up my privacy!! you know where they can stick their stupid law!!
I have received the survey twice now, this year, and in 2008 my mother, who is 98, was also targeted. Somehow, I don't feel this is a random checking. I have nothing new to add to the census, and at age 73 am not adding much to the economic growth of the country. By checking the IRS they already know my income. I don't like being pressured.
The ACS questionnaire is obviously unconstitutional. Against the fourth amendment and they probably should lose any lawsuit.
No, they don't have to stop calling you. Just hang up on them, or better yet, screen your calls for awhile and don't answer their calls. Ignore the threatening language and legal posturing. They have never taken action because they know this Census is not what the forefathers meant when they wrote the Constitution. If it is challenged in court, the CB will lose. Consequently the threats are empty. They will eventually stop calling. Hang in there. I've been through it.
I was one of the unfortunate 2% chosen for the latest questionnaire. I haven't answered it yet but I'm getting phone calls everyday several times a day. Can I tell them to stop calling me and if I do, do they have to stop (like telemarketers)?
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